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Shoppers happy to pay more to cut back on plastic

by - 18/02/2020 in Research Twitter logo icon link Facebook logo icon link LinkedIn logo icon link
  • Customers willing to pay 9% extra on weekly shop for sustainable packaging
  • Nearly half will buy more sustainable products this year

New research1 from Charter Savings Bank shows shoppers are increasingly happy to pay more to cut back on plastic and boost sales of sustainable products.

Its nationwide study found customers are willing to pay 9% more on their weekly shop – equivalent to an extra £5.50 on the average household bill of £60.602 – to ensure more sustainable packaging is used.

Nearly half of all adults (46%) plan to buy more sustainable products this year with women (54%) more likely than men (38%) to place a greater focus on sustainability in their shopping in 2020. The research found just one in 20 adults (5%) saying they didn’t buy any sustainable products last year and won’t buy any this year.

The sustainability switch is supported by attitudes to reusable alternatives to everyday products such as coffee cups and water bottles with 48% of adults saying they are willing to pay more. That rises to 59% for people in their 20s.

However the commitment to sustainability is not total – research found shoppers are more likely to use reusable shopping bags, water bottles and coffee cups but are less interested in metal straws as the table below shows.

What do shoppers use the majority of the time?

Reusable/sustainable product vs Non sustainable alternative

Reusable shopping bag/bag for life: 83%


Non reusable bag in shop: 7%

LED lightbulbs: 73%


Non energy saving lightbulbs: 11%

Reusable grocery/vegetable bags: 55%


Non reusable bag in shop (free): 18%

Reusable water bottle: 52%


Bottled water: 20%

Local produce: 54%


Cheaper imported fruit and veg: 30%

Face cloth (instead of wipes): 52%


Face wipes (non-biodegradable): 15%

Rechargeable batteries: 49%


Single use batteries: 33%

Biodegradable bin bags: 46%


Non-biodegradable bin bags: 29%

Reusable coffee cup: 33%


Single use cup: 17%

Metal straw: 17%


Free one-use straw: 25%

Bamboo toothbrush: 12%


Plastic toothbrush: 54%

Wooden razor: 9%


Plastic razor: 48%

Biodegradable wipes: 33%


Non-biodegradable wipes: 19%

Washable nappies: 8%


Disposable nappies: 8%

Reusable sandwich wraps: 26%


Cling film: 26%

Paul Whitlock, Group Managing Director, Savings said: “Sustainability is an important factor in purchasing considerations for all age groups - it’s not just millennials who care about the environment.

“Since we launched in 2015, we’ve taken steps to reduce the amount of waste we produce and to operate as sustainably as possible.

“Our new office is full of things to help us lower our impact on the environment. Removing single-use plastic cups and giving all our people reusable coffee cups is just one of the many positive changes we’ve made to be more sustainable.

“It’s vital that we all do our bit to become greener and help the environment and it’s encouraging to see that people are willing to spend more to see less plastic and packaging and aim to increase the number of sustainable products they buy this year. The good news is that it can also save money. Bags for life and reusable coffee cups and water bottles may cost a bit more than alternatives, but will save you money in the long-run.”

1 Opinium conducted research among 2,000 adults living in the UK on behalf of Charter Savings Bank between 7th and 9th January 2020

2 Family spending in the UK: April 2017 to March 2018

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Your eligible deposits held by a UK establishment of Charter Savings Bank are protected up to a total of £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the UK’s deposit protection scheme. Any deposits you hold above the limit are unlikely to be covered. Please click here for further information or visit www.fscs.org.uk.